Fleas aren't fun for anybody, but sometimes cats can have a worse reaction to flea bites than one would typically expect. If your cat seems to be experiencing an abnormal amount of skin irritation due to fleas, they might have flea dermatitis. Read on to learn more about this disorder, its symptoms, and what you can do to help your cat.
Flea Dermatitis and its Symptoms
Flea dermatitis is a form of allergic reaction to the bite of a flea, or from being exposed to its excrement. While most people and pets will experience mild irritation and itchiness from being bitten by fleas, cats with flea dermatitis will experience stronger symptoms. These can include irritated skin, red bumps, and hair loss. Your cat may obsessively scratch at itself, and in severe cases, obsessive scratching can potentially cause the irritated skin to become torn open and infected.
How your veterinarian chooses to treat the dermatitis will depend upon how severe it is and whether or not your cat has developed a secondary infection. If your cat has the inflamed skin that's common to this disorder, your vet may prescribe an anti-itch cream that contains steroids or antihistamines. This can help to prevent the area from irritating your pet, which will allow it time to heal.
If your cat has torn any of the sites open, they may need antibiotics to combat or prevent infection.
The best thing you can do for your cat is to prevent them from coming into contact with fleas in the first place. At this point in time, there is no cure for flea dermatitis, and treatments can only help to reduce symptoms, rather than stopping them entirely. Your veterinarian will be able to suggest medication or treatments to kill and repel fleas. Most topical treatments work well, and can protect your cat for a long period of time.
If you don't already, keeping your cat indoors can also help to reduce the amount of fleas they come into contact with. However, fleas can still come inside on other pets or even on your clothes or shoes, so your cat should still be medicated to keep any fleas that come inside from irritating them.
Fleas aren't fun for anyone, but if your cat has flea dermatitis, it can be especially painful and unpleasant. If you think your cat is experiencing symptoms of flea dermatitis, visit your vet, like Spring Hill Veterinary Clinic, to treat the problem and to develop a plan to keep fleas away from your cat.